The Instigator
byaka2013
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
yattaoat12
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Was Fully Justified

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 618 times Debate No: 101981
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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byaka2013

Con

I am entirely against the above resolution.

Rules
  1. The first round is for acceptance, second for main arguments, third for rebuttals and fourth for conclusive statements.
  2. The burden of proof is on my opponent as they must explain why it was justified.
  3. Ad hominem attacks are prohibited. So is profanity (for sake of the website).
  4. Footnotes, endnotes, annotated bibliography, etc is required.

Definitions

Nuke- the action of striking a region using nuclear capable weapons.
Justified- having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.
Unconditional Surrender- a surrender in which no guarantees are given to the surrendering party.
Empire- an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress.

In case you are wondering how to get bold, italicized or more text, click the 'Rich Text' button.

Source Reccomendation
I would reccomend using the website https://nuclearsecrecy.com... provides a way to visualize the effects of a nuclear bomb.

yattaoat12

Pro

I agree to the above.
Debate Round No. 1
byaka2013

Con



Premise 1
Let us observe this map (http://www.debate.org...). It seems somewhat obvious[1] that Japan was not going to win the war. By this time (August 1945), Germany was already defeated, and it was now almost everyone in the world vs Japan. A landing was proposed, called Operation Downfall.[2] But was it necessary? The nuclear bombs seemed to just kill more and more people. For what? Japan didn't kill nearly as much in Pearl Harbor.
Premise 2
The United States did not fully understand the scale or power of nuclear weapons. Sure, Fat Man and Little Boy would be considered primitive by our time. But they still collectively killed 196360 people.[3] Some people thought it could destroy the world, especially given a lack of exact tests of that nuke size before official detonation.

Japan Seeks Peace[4]

Months before the end of the war, Japan's leaders recognized that defeat was inevitable. In April 1945 a new government headed by Kantaro Suzuki took office with the mission of ending the war. When Germany capitulated in early May, the Japanese understood that the British and Americans would now direct the full fury of their awesome military power exclusively against them.

American officials, having long since broken Japan's secret codes, knew from intercepted messages that the country's leaders were seeking to end the war on terms as favorable as possible. Details of these efforts were known from decoded secret communications between the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo and Japanese diplomats abroad.

A Secret Memorandum

President Roosevelt received a 40-page memorandum from General Douglas MacArthur outlining five separate surrender overtures from high-level Japanese officials. (The complete text of Trohan's article is in the Winter 1985-86 Journal, pp. 508-512.)

This memo showed that the Japanese were offering surrender terms virtually identical to the ones ultimately accepted by the Americans at the formal surrender ceremony on September 2 -- that is, complete surrender of everything but the person of the Emperor. Specifically, the terms of these peace overtures included:

  • Complete surrender of all Japanese forces and arms, at home, on island possessions, and in occupied countries.
  • Occupation of Japan and its possessions by Allied troops under American direction.
  • Japanese relinquishment of all territory seized during the war, as well as Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan.
  • Regulation of Japanese industry to halt production of any weapons and other tools of war.
  • Release of all prisoners of war and internees.
  • Surrender of designated war criminals.

These surrender terms seem pretty logical. They even let American have a presence there. But by directly violating this, the US had one there anyway.

Peace Overtures

In April and May 1945, Japan made three attempts through neutral Sweden and Portugal to bring the war to a peaceful end. On April 7, acting Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu met with Swedish ambassador Widon Bagge in Tokyo, asking him "to ascertain what peace terms the United States and Britain had in mind." But he emphasized that unconditional surrender was unacceptable, and that "the Emperor must not be touched." Bagge relayed the message to the United States, but Secretary of State Stettinius told the US Ambassador in Sweden to "show no interest or take any initiative in pursuit of the matter." Similar Japanese peace signals through Portugal, on May 7, and again through Sweden, on the 10th, proved similarly fruitless.

By mid-June, six members of Japan's Supreme War Council had secretly charged Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo with the task of approaching Soviet Russia's leaders "with a view to terminating the war if possible by September." On June 22 the Emperor called a meeting of the Supreme War Council, which included the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the leading military figures. "We have heard enough of this determination of yours to fight to the last soldiers," said Emperor Hirohito. "We wish that you, leaders of Japan, will strive now to study the ways and the means to conclude the war. In doing so, try not to be bound by the decisions you have made in the past."

By early July the US had intercepted messages from Togo to the Japanese ambassador in Moscow, Naotake Sato, showing that the Emperor himself was taking a personal hand in the peace effort, and had directed that the Soviet Union be asked to help end the war. US officials also knew that the key obstacle to ending the war was American insistence on "unconditional surrender," a demand that precluded any negotiations. The Japanese were willing to accept nearly everything, except turning over their semi-divine Emperor. Heir of a 2,600-year-old dynasty, Hirohito was regarded by his people as a "living god" who personified the nation. (Until the August 15 radio broadcast of his surrender announcement, the Japanese people had never heard his voice.) Japanese particularly feared that the Americans would humiliate the Emperor, and even execute him as a war criminal.

On July 12, Hirohito summoned Fumimaro Konoye, who had served as prime minister in 1940-41. Explaining that "it will be necessary to terminate the war without delay," the Emperor said that he wished Konoye to secure peace with the Americans and British through the Soviets. As Prince Konoye later recalled, the Emperor instructed him "to secure peace at any price, notwithstanding its severity."

The next day, July 13, Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo wired ambassador Naotake Sato in Moscow: "See [Soviet foreign minister] Molotov before his departure for Potsdam ... Convey His Majesty's strong desire to secure a termination of the war ... Unconditional surrender is the only obstacle to peace ..."

Navy Secretary James Forrestal termed the intercepted messages "real evidence of a Japanese desire to get out of the war." "With the interception of these messages," notes historian Alperovitz (p. 177), "there could no longer be any real doubt as to the Japanese intentions; the maneuvers were overt and explicit and, most of all, official acts. Koichi Kido, Japan's Lord Privy Seal and a close advisor to the Emperor, later affirmed: "Our decision to seek a way out of this war, was made in early June before any atomic bomb had been dropped and Russia had not entered the war. It was already our decision."

understood Japan's desperate position: the Japanese were willing to end the war on any terms, as long as the Emperor was not molested. If the US leadership had not insisted on unconditional surrender -- that is, if they had made clear a willingness to permit the Emperor to remain in place -- the Japanese very likely would have surrendered immediately, thus saving many thousands of lives.

The sad irony is that, as it actually turned out, the American leaders decided anyway to retain the Emperor as a symbol of authority and continuity. They realized, correctly, that Hirohito was useful as a figurehead prop for their own occupation authority in postwar Japan.

Justifications

President Truman steadfastly defended his use of the atomic bomb, claiming that it "saved millions of lives" by bringing the war to a quick end. Justifying his decision, he went so far as to declare: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."

This was a preposterous statement. In fact, almost all of the victims were civilians, and the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (issued in 1946) stated in its official report: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as targets because of their concentration of activities and population."

If the atomic bomb was dropped to impress the Japanese leaders with the immense destructive power of a new weapon, this could have been accomplished by deploying it on an isolated military base. It was not necessary to destroy a large city. And whatever the justification for the Hiroshima blast, it is much more difficult to defend the second bombing of Nagasaki.

Extended Logic

A 2015 Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who believe the use of nuclear weapons was justified is now 56%, with 34% saying it was not. In Japan, only 14% say the bombing was justified, versus 79% who say it was not.[5]
By the flawed logic which allows us to consider the nuking justified, we can conclude 9/11 was perhaps even more justified, considering Osama killed far less people.

A Bluff

The Japanese had now way of knowing if the Americans truly had such a weapon. It could have been a bluff. Also, the warning was only 5 days in advance.

Japan was already conquered militarily as soon as June 1945 (two months before the bombing). The Imperial Navy was completely wiped out [6], the air force was all but destroyed, the economic system was on the verge of collapse, the few factories and workshops that had not yet been destroyed were unable to produce goods from lack of adequate raw materials. By July, one-fourth of all houses were destroyed [7] and the transportation system was on the verge of collapse [8].

Admiral William D. Leahy (Chairman of the Wartime Joint Chiefs of Staff) writes,

“It is my opinion that the use of the barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…” qtd. in [9]

Continuation
If we call this utilitarianism, it would be a false claim. This is due to the fact that the bomb tens of thousands of people not responsible for the military crimes.

yattaoat12

Pro

Due to the above stated rules, I will now make my case for the nukes being justified.

1. Japan did not want to surrender.
Even after a single nuclear bomb was dropped, the Japanese did not surrender [1]. Even when they did surrender, it was only by the will of the emperor. Most of the military also did not want "However, the senior leadership of the Japanese Army took the news in stride, grossly underestimating the scale of the attack." [2]. If the bombs, which changed the emperors opinion greatly, had not been used, we would be looking at an all out invasion from not only the USA but also the USSR. Imagine if the bombs were not used-even if the emperor wanted to surrender in the middle of an invasion, it would most likely not matter at that point as Japanese military leaders would probably lead guerrilla campaigns if needed.
2. Prevented Japan from becoming Korea.
Just weeks before Japan's surrender, over a million Soviet troops invaded Manchuria [3]. The Soviets, as seen in Europe, had a lot more troops then just those and could have easily maneuvered them to invade Northern Japan. This would have made it a state of perpetual war like Korea is today.
Both these reasons, to me, justify why dropping nukes was the better option. I look forward to your response.
Additional video (not official source): https://www.youtube.com...

Sources: 1. https://en.wikipedia.org...
2. https://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://www.history.com...
Debate Round No. 2
byaka2013

Con

1. Understand Japan's desperate position: the Japanese were willing to end the war on any terms, as long as the Emperor was not "molested". If the US leadership had not insisted on unconditional surrender -- that is, if they had made clear a willingness to permit the Emperor to remain in place -- the Japanese very likely would have surrendered immediately, thus saving many thousands of lives.[1]
2. But so what? The Soviets didn't even take much and it was not justified. It was quite clear Japan would not win. What difference does it make about the will of the Emperor? If he had power and influence, it was under his jurisdiction to surrender.

To be clear, your response for R3 is a rebuttal to my opening statements, not my R3 argument.


Sources
1- http://www.ihr.org...
yattaoat12

Pro

I do not care to debate someone who just copy pastes an article.
Debate Round No. 3
byaka2013

Con

I didn't copy paste any whole article- just one paragraph. And when I copy pasted anything, I cited it so it was obviously not my work. Note you did not follow rule 1.

Since there is little my opponent said, and he did not follow the rules, I am the clear winner of this debate. I believe I have brought up superior points and have accurately proven my points. Conclusively, the US was not justified, although I am not saying it was the wrong decision.

Vote Con!
yattaoat12

Pro

80% Of your first argument was copy pasted from the same website, and I am not going to bother fighting a copy pasted text wall.

Vote pro!
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by byaka2014 9 months ago
byaka2014
Terrible debate
No votes have been placed for this debate.